Connecticut man who killed Anguilla hotel worker appears in court

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Thursday, August 22, 2019
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The Connecticut man who killed a hotel worker while protecting his family in Anguilla appeared in court Thursday.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The Connecticut man who killed a hotel worker while protecting his family in Anguilla appeared in court Thursday, two days after speaking out publicly about the ordeal for the first time.

Scott Hapgood, of Darien, held a news conference in Manhattan Tuesday, before he returned to the island to go before a judge to face manslaughter charges.

He walked into the courthouse in Anguilla around 9:15 a.m. Thursday for a preliminary hearing with a local legal team and security.

Media was not allowed inside and there is no official word on exactly what happened, but an attorney with knowledge of the case tells ABC News that Hapgood is due back in court for a continuation of the preliminary hearing on September 9.

Before leaving, Hapgood read a brief statement to the media he had written out on his phone.

He said he asked the judge for a quick case and that he understands the frustration the people of Anguilla. He also hopes to tell his side of the story one day.

Hapgood was vacationing with his wife and children when he says 27-year-old Kenny Mitchel showed up claiming he needed to fix a broken sink.

In a written account Hapgood provided to the New York Times, he claims soon after he let Mitchel inside, the worker "pulled a knife on me, demanding my money and my wallet."

A struggle ensued, with Hapgood ultimately killing Mitchel.

Anguilla's attorney general had no comment after the court appearance. Mitchel's wife and brother were also outside the courthouse but were not allowed intro the hearing.

A toxicology report showed that Mitchel had drugs and alcohol in his system the night he died.

"On April 13, my family's life was changed forever," Hapgood said at the news conerence. "Since that day, we've been living a nightmare that has gradually become our reality."

WATCH: Hapgood speaks publicly for the first time about Anguilla incident

The 44-year-old American financier is fighting for his freedom after the incident at a five-star Caribbean resort.

"We want the same thing as the people of Anguilla, for the truth to come out," he said. "We have a long road ahead of us, but I'm looking forward to someday getting back to the life we once had."

Hapgood said during a "hard struggle," he was stabbed and bitten by Mitchel several times.

"I feared for my life, as well as the lives of my daughters," he said.

Hapgood's daughters, who were in the room at the time, summoned help from the front desk, according to the Times.

The Times interviewed one of the other hotel workers, who told them he saw Hapgood straddling Mitchel and leaning on his neck and face, and that Mitchel appeared to be struggling for air.

Officials say Mitchel died of positional asphyxia and blunt force injuries.

"It was a terrifying experience on the island, post the arrest, having to spend multiple nights incarcerated, being threatened on the island and since," Hapgood said. "My wife, my children, we wake up with it, we live in it, we swim in it, we breathe it every day."

The toxicology report obtained by ABC News states that Mitchel had a blood alcohol level of .181, more than twice the U.S. legal limit, and he had cocaine in his system at the time of the incident.

ABC News has not independently verified the report, and authorities in Anguilla would not confirm or deny the results.


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